Former President Donald Trump endorsed New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney as House Republican Conference Chair, while the conference prepares for a likely vote next week.
“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,” Trump wrote in a statement Wednesday.
“We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America first. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!” he wrote.
Cheney survived a referendum on her role in leadership three months after her futile crusade to recruit GOP members in support of Trump’s second impeachment. The three-term Wyoming lawmaker ended up one of 10 Republicans to join Democrats in the effort, several of whom had already announced their intent to vote in line with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the extreme measure.
An emboldened Cheney has only escalated her public feud with the former Republican president since surviving her first recall in February. Weeks after the party voted to keep her in leadership, she cast the current party as one rooted in white supremacy, and undermined the conference by going off message to spar with Trump. New reporting in April also exposed Cheney as a primary culprit of spreading the fake Russian bounties story of last summer to undercut the Trump administration and its goals to pull forces out of Afghanistan.
Stefanik on the other hand has remained a staunch defender of party unity, and was a power player in Trump’s first impeachment defense. Cheney’s lackluster effort supporting candidates in the November elections also highlights a stark contrast between the Wyoming lawmaker and her potential New York replacement, where Stefanik was a prolific fundraiser who recruited a record number of women now in the freshman class.
Cheney’s position in leadership has grown more uncertain as the top two leaders of the Republican conference this week revealed their support for her replacement. Before a “Fox & Friends” interview Tuesday morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Stefanik ally, was caught on a hot mic airing his frustration over Cheney.
“I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence,” McCarthy said.
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise revealed to the Washington Examiner Wednesday morning his intention to support Stefanik to replace Cheney.
“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda,” Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine said in a statement. “Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair.”